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Term: Albedo Class:  
 vernacular   (0%)
Created 6 June 2017
Last modified 6 June 2017
Contributed by GCW Glossary

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Definition: The process by which ice and snow dissipate owing to melting and evaporation.  NOAAHydrology 

(1) combined processes (such as sublimation, fusion or melting, evaporation) which remove snow or ice from the surface of a glacier or from a snow-field; also used to express the quantity lost by these processes (2) reduction of the water equivalent of a snow cover by melting, evaporation, wind and avalanches.  NSIDCCryosphere 

(1) All processes that reduce the mass of the glacier. (2) The mass lost by the operation of any of the processes of sense 1, expressed as a negative number. The main processes of ablation are melting and calving (or, when the glacier nourishes an ice shelf, ice discharge across the grounding line). On some glaciers sublimation, loss of windborne snow and avalanching are significant processes of ablation. 'Ablation', unqualified, is sometimes used as if it were a synonym of surface ablation, although internal ablation, basal ablation, and frontal ablation, especially calving, can all be significant in some contexts.  IHPGlacierMassBalance 

Ablation refers to all processes by which snow, ice, or water in any form are lost from a glacier. Ablation is the loss of snow or ice by evaporation and melting. The rate at which ablation occurs depends on the atmospheric conditions present, such as air moisture content, solar radiation, temperature, and the reflectivity (Albedo) of the snow or ice surface. Fresh snow has a high albedo (0.7 to 0.9), indicating that 70 to 90 percent of the radiation received is reflected; glacier ice has a lower albedo of 0.2 to 0.4. Therefore, more radiation may be absorbed by glacier ice than by snow. Glaciers around the mountain receive different amounts of sunlight, so each glacier has its own characteristic ablation pattern.  USGSGlaciers(ambiguous) 

The loss of ice and snow from a glacier system. This occurs through a variety of processes including melting and runoff, sublimation, evaporation, calving, and wind transportation of snow out of a glacier basin.  USGSGlaciers(ambiguous) 

All processes that remove snow, ice, or water from a snowfield, glacier, etc., that is typically melt, evaporation, sublimation as well as wind erosion, avalanches, calving, etc.; in this sense, the opposite of accumulation. In many publications before 1980, ablation did not include mechanical removal of either snow or ice, i.e., wind erosion, avalanches, calving, etc.  IACSSnow 

Depletion of snow and ice by melting and evaporation.  NOAA-NWS 

(1) Combined processes (such as sublimation, melting, evaporation) which remove snow or ice from the surface of a glacier or from a snow-field. Also used to express the quantity lost by these processes. (2) Reduction of the water equivalent of a snow cover by melting, evaporation, wind and avalanches.  WMOMeteoterm 

Reduction of the water equivalent of a snow cover by melting, evaporation, wind and avalanches.  ECCCanada 

(1) Combined processes (such as melting, sublimation, evaporation or calving) which remove snow or ice from a glacier or from a snowfield; also used to express the quantity lost by these processes. (2) Reduction of the water equivalent of snow cover by melting, evaporation, wind and avalanches.  WMOHydrology 

The process of wastage of snow or ice by melting, sublimation and calving.  Swisseduc 

1. All processes that remove snow, ice, or water from a glacier, snowfield, etc.; in this sense, the opposite of accumulation. These processes include melting, evaporation, calving, wind erosion, and an avalanche. Air temperature is the dominant factor in controlling ablation, precipitation amounts exercising only secondary control. During the ablation season (usually summer), an ablation rate of about 2 mm/h is typical of glaciers in a temperate climate. 2. The amount of snow or ice removed by the above-described processes; in this sense, the opposite of accumulation.  AMSglossary 

Surface removal of ice or snow from a glacier or snowfield by melting, sublimation, and/or calving.  PhysicalGeography 

All processes by which snow, ice, or water in any form are lost from a glacier, floating ice or snow cover. These include melting, evaporation, calving, wind erosion and avalanches. Also used to express the quantity lost by these processes.  SPRI 

 GCW 
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